Android Things Preview 5 Released

Google has released the fifth developer preview of its Android Things platform for the Internet of Things Devices.

This version marks the first version of the platform to use Google’s Android O operating system’s code base to be released on August 21st. It includes new Application Programming Interface (API) features from Android O and new features for Android Things.  It is recommended that future applications target api 26 to work correctly with Android O.

With this version Intel Edison and Joule hardware will move to legacy support as they were discontinued by Intel.  These will continue to work with Developer Preivew 4.1 images.

Android Things  samples are now also included in the Android Studio developer tools.

More information Available at the Android Developer Blog

What’s New in android wear 2.0

new android wear 2.0 watch models
Android Wear 2.0 Launch Watches

Where the traditional watches just tells the time, an Android wear 2.0 watch makes most of every minute. It is a Smartphone within a watch. In a instant you can check where and when you are in a meeting with someone, how many minutes you have been active today or you can instantly call or message someone, all these without using your Smartphone.

Android wear 2.0 is the biggest update to Google Smart watches OS since it launched. It’s been 3 years since Google launched android wear and since then it has reached to another level. Android wear 2.0 has a more cleaner and simpler design than the past launches. It’s easier to navigate, easier to switch faces, easier to launch apps and see any new notifications. It also has improved fitness, tracking features along with voice controlled Google assistance. But, the most significant change is how an android wear works when your Smartphone is not around. You can browse for apps without using your Smartphone and directly install them from play store.

Wear 2.0 also connect with LTE connection. So you can leave your phone at home and have access to notifications, make calls and send text messages, track with GPS and even buy things using Android pay. So android wear 2.0 is great to have with all these useful new features.

The first watches with Android wear 2.0 are the LG Watch Style and LG watch sport both of them are designed in collaboration with Google.

· The LG watch style is thin, light and comfortable to wear. It has changeable leather and silicon bands with a rotating power button that lets you scroll through the screen.

· The L.G watch sport is on the other hand, more powerful with high performance elastonier strap. GPS for tracking exercise and navigation, a heart rate sensor for workouts, and cellular connectivity. It has a rotating power button which lets you instantly reach your favorite app.

With numerous platform and developer enhancements, some of the highlights include:-

1. Attractive material design: The new material design features a darker color palette, vertical layout and visual components. It also has enhanced notifications on the watch that’s more accommodating for round screens. The apps are easy to find by pushing the side button. There is also a new action drawer at the bottom of the display, providing context specification actions similar to smart phones.

2. Access to Google Play store: Android wear 2.0 now includes a standalone play store which means you are able to browse and download apps directly to your smart watch. Also just the watch itself as 2.0 does not require the two of them to be paired.

3. Moe personalized watch faces: You can now personalize your android wear on watch face with information and actions form your favorite apps.

4. Better ways to work out: Google fit is the pre-installed fitness app on most of the android wear. It helps track your pace, distance, burn calories heart rate while you are running or cycling.

5. Easy to respond calls and messages: Android wear 2.0 makes you easier to respond to calls and texts. You can respond by dictating, typing or handwriting your replies.

6. Easy Music streaming and easy to access notifications.

7. Google Assistance on your wrist: Now easily find answers to your problems- hand free.

8. Payment via Android Pay: You can simply load up your bank card to the device and tap to buy anything you want.

We hope that Android Wear 2.0 lets you stay more healthy more informed more organized as well as more connected.

Google Play Order Management moving to Android Developer Console

From The Google Play Team:

On January 9, 2017, Google Play Order Management features moved from Payments Center to the Google Play Developer Console. The new Order Management page offers the same functionality as the Order Management feature in Payments Center, as well as new features such as bulk refunds and subscription cancellation. Starting January 23, 2017, Order Management functionality will be removed from Payments Center.

Action required by January 23, 2017
As the account owner, you must add all users who need access to Payments Center to your Developer Console with the new ‘Manage orders’ permission. Permissions from Payments Center are not automatically carried over to the Developer Console.

Here’s how you can add user permissions:

  1. Log on to Payments Center and review all existing users. For your convenience, we’ve also included a list of users with access to Payments Center at the end of this email.
  2. Sign in to your Developer Console and add one or both of the following permissions for all users that need access to Order Management in the Developer Console.
    • View financial reports: Users can view financial and sales reports.
    • Manage orders: Users can access the Order Management page. All financial data will be hidden unless they have “View financial reports” permission.
  3. Let your users know about the new location for Order Management features.

Note: If you previously set ‘Manage orders’ permissions in the Developer Console, you don’t need to re-add those users.

Account owners will also be able to access Payments Center settings (such as language preference and tax information) in the Developer Console, under Settings –> Payment Settings.

You can read more about the new Order Management features in the Developer Console Help Center.

Google Assistant coming to Android TV

Google announced today that the Google Assistant would be coming to the Android TV Plaform “in the coming months” as part of an update to the Google TV platform on TVs and set top boxes.  Nvidia echoed that annoucement yesterday in their keynote at the consumer electronics show (CES) announcing that the new NVidia Shield TV would be the first device to launch with Google’s Assistant.

You’ll be able to ask the Google Assistant for help so you can enjoy the content you love, faster than ever, on the best screen in your house.

From playing media to planning for your day, here are some ways the Google Assistant on Android TV can help:

Play content: “Play Stranger Things on Netflix.”

Discover content: “Search YouTube for Jimmy Kimmel.” And you can also ask a follow-up if you’re interested in more videos by saying: “Play the second one.”

Get answers: “Tell me about Jurassic Park?”

Set the right mood: “Dim the lights.”

Get ready for your day: “How long will it take to get to work?”

In the coming months, the Google Assistant on Android TV will come to the NVIDIA SHIELD, along with all Android TVs in the US running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or Android 7.0 Nougat, such as the AirTV Player, Sharp Aquos, Sony Bravia, Xiaomi Mi Box, and more. And once available, the NVIDIA SHIELD will be the first TV device to offer a hands-free Assistant experience — so “Dim the lights” will only be an “Ok Google” away!

Android Platform Tools Now Available for Download From Google

Elliot Hughes, A google Engineer posted on his G+ page an announcement that Google is now hosting the Android Platform tools as separate binaries for download.  Previous to this you would have to download the full android developer tools which can be very large.

Until this announcement other alternatives would be to get these tools from other sources on the internet that are less reputable and open yourself up to malware.  As a recent victim of identity theft myself this is always something I keep in mind when downloading applications.

As a non-developer these tools are essential for flashing new roms, side loading applications or even updating/restoring your devices with factory images provided by google and other manufacturers.

You can download the binaries for your platform of choice using the links below.

Windows, MacOS, Linux

Google releases Actions SDK for Google Home and Assistant

Today Google released the Actions Api and documentation for the Google Assistant which powers the google Home.  While the Api is now available  your actions won’t be available to the public until next year.

Your actions won’t need to be installed as you would on amazon Echo’s Alexa Skills.  Users would just say a conversational phrase asking for the action by name, i.e ok google let me talk to personal chef.

Check out the introductory video below on the you tube channel.

You can write your own parsers to parse the text spoken by the user or use API.AI which was recently acquired by google to build out user interface.

Early partners that will be launching in the weeks to come are Quora, WebMD, Lonely Planet, NPR One and Buzz Feed to name a few.  Purchases and Bookings will follow as well.

The documentation can be found at where you can also sign up to begin your Google Assistant development.

Web Sockets come to OkHttp v3.5

Today Jake Wharton posted an announcement on his medium blog that OkHttp version 3.5 released today includes support for Web Sockets.

Web Sockets  provide full-duplex communication channels over a single tcp connection and is being standardized by the W3C.  The can be used to implement client server web based applications.

With the update to the library you create a new web socket by passing a request tot he newWebSocket() method along with a listener for messages sent by the server.

Web Sockets now shipping in OkHttp 3.5! – Square Corner Blog – Medium

OkHttpClient client = new OkHttpClient();
Request request = //...
WebSocketListener listener = //...
WebSocket ws = client.newWebSocket(request, listener);

To use version 3.5 in your application add the library to your build.gradle file using the follinw line or via the Android Studio Dependencies tab in the Project Structure Dialog.

compile com.squareup.okhttp3:okhttp:3.5.0